After great difficulties on the development of Red Dead Redemption 2, Rockstar Games would have transformed for GTA 6.
Impossible to deny: GTA 6 is the most anticipated game in the entertainment industry. The previous episode sold more than 165 million copies, making it one of the best-selling games in the world. Since the launch of GTA 5 in 2013, the game has continued to consistently appear in the top game charts.
The launch of Red Dead Redemption 2 had unfortunately been marred by numerous scandals around working methods within Rockstar Studios, the developer. And it’s not the appalling arrival of GTA Trilogy Definitive Edition that has improved the image of the studio, quite the contrary. Now, Rockstar is hard at work on GTA 6 and obviously wants to do it right.
A heroine immersed in an evolving Miami
Journalist Jason Schreier has been able to investigate for Bloomberg over the past few months about new development methods at Rockstar Games. He was able to interview more than 20 sources both still within the company, but also ex-employees.
First important change for Rockstar Games: the emergence of a more inclusive culture vis-à-vis minorities. The pay difference between men and women has reportedly been significantly reduced and the firm has removed transphobic jokes from the latest versions of GTA 5. On this new basis, Rockstar Games would have finally decided to choose a female character as one of the two protagonists of GTA 6. A first in the history of the license since its transition to 3D.
Inspired by renowned robbers Bonnie & Clyde, the two protagonists should make a name for themselves in a revisited Miami, probably still under the name of Vice City. The game universe is said to be evolving and Rockstar Games is said to be planning to add new cities to its game after launch. The ambitions of the project would have been revised downwards to become more realistic by taking into account the reality of the human work behind the creation of a game. GTA 6 would still be very ambitious, with many interiors to visit in addition to the streets from the city. The game would not be ready before at least 2024 or 2025 according to the developers interviewed.
The change in culture would also be reflected in fewer jokes aimed at minorities. A very important change after a GTA 5 who, by not choosing any particular target for his mockery, ended up participating in a toxic video game culture mixing racism, sexism and homophobia.
New ways of working
Jason Schreier’s article is not just about a change in internal culture, but about much more concrete changes for the firm’s employees. Remember that the firm had been decried by many of its employees at the launch of Red Redemption 2 for a cocktail that has become far too well known in the industry: atmosphere of boys club and periods of crunch repeat. We are talking about 7-day work weeks with 14 hours of work per day for several months.
Since a transformation took place, the boysclub would be “become a real business“. The company would do its best to limit overtime and a restructuring of several departments would have taken place, one imagines it to exclude toxic elements. Contract workers, often considered the cannon fodder of the industry, would have been internalized. In the United States, health coverage has also improved in recent years.
The industry is facing a challenge with the multiplication of scandals, especially in very high budget studios (but also in independent studios). A systemic problem diagnosed and now being treated in some studios. After so many scandals, it’s nice to know that employees interviewed are now satisfied to work at Rockstar Games. It is also the ransom of the success of GTA 5 which allows the studio to take the time to correct its trajectory.
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